THE HISTORY OF BEER

Between 10,000 and 15,000 years ago, some humans discontinued their nomadic hunting and gathering and settled down to farm.

Grain was the first domesticated crop that started that farming process.

The oldest proven records of brewing are about 6,000 years old and refer to the Sumerians. Sumeria lay between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers including Southern Mesopotamia and the ancient cities of Babylon and Ur. It is said that the Sumerians discovered the fermentation process by chance. No one knows today exactly how this occurred, but it could be that a piece of bread or grain became wet and a short time later, it began to ferment and a inebriating pulp resulted.

A seal around 4,000 years old is a Sumerian “Hymn to Ninkasi”, the goddess of brewing. This “hymn” is also a recipe for making beer. A description of the making of beer on this ancient engraving in the Sumerian language is the earliest account of what is easily recognized as barley, followed by a pictograph of bread being baked, crumbled into water to form a mash, and then made into a drink that is recorded as having made people feel “exhilarated, wonderful and blissful.”

It could be that baked bread was a convenient method of storing and transporting a resource for making beer. The Sumerians were able to repeat this process and are assumed to be he first civilized culture to brew beer. They had discovered a “divine drink” which certainly was a gift from the gods.

Brewing in modern times

Considerable scientific research took place in breweries in the 19th century. A famous work from 1876 by Louis Pasteur was “Etudes sur la Biere” (“Studies Concerning Beer”) where he revealed his knowledge of micro-organisms. This basic knowledge is still indispensable today, not only in the production of beverages, but also in medicine and biology. (Everyone knows the word “pasteurized”)

Another pioneering discovery in beer brewing was the work of Christian Hansen. The Danish scientist, Christian Hansen, successfully isolated a single yeast cell and induced it to reproduce on an artificial culture medium. With the resulting yeast propagation methods, the purity of the fermenting process has been improved and beer taste repeatable.

Beer and its price have always been of extreme importance to German consumers. The consequences a beer price increase can bring with it were shown in 1888 in Munich when the Salvator battle took place, as citizens violently rebelled against such a price increase.

Wooden barrels have been almost completely replaced by metal barrels for most pub trade. In 1964 metal kegs were introduced in Germany . Firstly, cleaning and filling was much simpler. Secondly, tapping and closing off was much easier for the bar personnel. This was a big hit with pub and restaurant owners.